Writing a novel about a pilot and need some advice


Hi All you pilots out there, I’m writing a novel about a pilot for a private jet service, and I know very little about flight nomenclature. Things I’m looking for are:

  1. Would a private jet be allowed to land at a commercial airport if seasonal unsettled weather does not allow pilot to land in a smaller regional airfiled designated in the flight plan due to weather and lack of emergency vehicles available?
  2. Could that private jet pull up to a commercial gate or would the tower request that the plane be parked somewhere else?
    Thank you in advance if you can help. PS Missed my calling – wish I could have become a pilot, but at least I can write about it!

Thanks!!! :smiley: :smiley:


No on the “commercial gate”, because they would be slipping in behind the TSA screen. (There may be extenuating circumstances…but I don’t know what they would be.)

I once had a twin engine pilot who landed and said he just needed to “taxi over and drop a passenger a the terminal to catch his flight…” He ignored all our instructions, taxiied over to the commercial ramp, and wound up surrounded by security vehicles and the crash crew. The terminal was evacuated, the passengers boarded had to come off, and everyone had to be rescreened. (KLGB about 2003 or so…)


Thanks, pthomas745. This is very helpful. My main character is not looking for any trouble with TSA :slight_smile:

So a private jet could land at a regional airport, but where would the tower tell them to park their plane if it’s an unplanned landing? In this case, it’s only the pilot that’s leaving the plane and they have to wait for a new pilot to show up to replace her.

Thanks again!


Any private jet or other plane is allowed to fly into any major airport for any reason. Although the fees and fuel prices are sometimes more expensive than a smaller airport. If the major airport is closer to where the passengers need to go, then the pilot will stop there as opposed to a smaller outlying airport. I’ve been to many in my career, like JFK, BOS, DCA, MIA, ORD, DFW, SFO and LAX.

On all of those airports, and others, there is at least one private company that all the planes go to for services, it’s called an FBO, for Fixed Base Operator. They sell fuel and other supplies the pilots and passengers may need, and they also give a ride to passengers to and from the airline terminal.

The only time I’ve ever taxied up near an airline terminal at a major airport is when we used to clear Customs on arrival in MSP. We had to taxi up near a gate and wait sideways so that we could taxi out after done with Customs. The Customs officer would walk out when ready, look at our paperwork and then send us on our way, and we would then taxi to the FBO. We never pulled all the way in as the tugs aren’t set up to push us back and jetways don’t line up with any of our planes, and we never left the plane itself.




This is so helpful. I’ve never flown private and would have never known this!


Didn’t even think about the tugs and jetways, but had thought maybe would be more like Burbank, where they deplane on stairs to the tarmac. However, I will have the jet roll on over to the FBO instead, which makes more sense.



And, surely, don’t call it a “tarmac,” unless you are in England or want an argument.

flyingwithfish.boardingarea.com/ … vs-tarmac/

Stick with “ramp.”

And, I won’t call you Shirley.


Surely you can’t be serious! Brilliant. Glad I asked. Nothing worse than reading a book and being torn out of your suspension of disbelief because of something the author writes that’s a blatantly rookie error. So out with “tarmac” (such a layman’s term) and in with “Ramp.” :wink:


Here’s a series of VLOGS that this corporate/charter pilot put out detailing his days at work. Look at a few so you can get an idea what a pilots life is like, it also shows the various FBO’s and what it’s like there for pilots and passengers.

Watch day 1, 2 and 3 of his 3 day trip.